The Val Ponci quarry
This site from the sixties of the previous century was called the “roman quarries” even if there is no evidence attesting that the material from the quarries was used to build the bridges of via Iulia Augusta.
MORE INFORMATION – The Val Ponci quarry
It’s a fascinating site where Finale Stone presents a thick natural stratification with an inclination of the layers of sedimentation that goes in a north-south direction; a geological situation that favoured the exploitation in tunnels of the bank for the production of stone elements obtained following the cleavage plane and probably destined for the shaping of the blocks thanks to the compactness and homogeneity of the extracted stone.
The three main quarries were opened in tunnels going deeper into the natural bank for extraction. The inside of the tunnels is occupied by a massive filling that comes from the extraction activities. The first quarry has a semicircular shape, with an opening of 10 m, it is 6 m deep, it is 2 m high that towards the bottom of the tunnel reduces to 1,30 m.
The second quarry has a quadrangular shape and is around 30 m deep. It’s entrance measures 14 m and is 3,50 m high that towards the bottom reduces to 1,70 m. At the entrance a drywall structure was built with two walls that close the entrance to the quarry and thus forming a well-defined room.
The third quarry, the biggest one, has an opening of 9 m and is 40 m long with the height at the entrance of 3,50 m that diminishes towards the bottom.
Within the quarry there are evident signs left by the processing of the rock with hammers and chisels that testify the pre-industrial extractive technique but at the moment it can’t be dated because this technique went unchanged from the roman age until the first decades of the 20th century.
Further north there is an open-air extraction area.
Close to these main extraction areas cutting marks are present on some small parts of the slopes where Finale stone emerged.
Also in relation to the type of exploitation and the dimensions of the preserved steps within the tunnels, as well as the compactness of the rock of the banks in the highest part of the eastern slope of the valley, it would seem possible to assume that, at least for the bigger squared Finale stone blocks used in the bridges, material from the quarry was used, exploiting the vast natural cleavage planes rather than using erratic elements or boulders that detached from the rock formation.
To discover close to Val Ponci
HOW TO REACH
THE VAL PONCI QUARRY
How to reach the site
The area of the quarries is situated on the eastern side of the Val Ponci valley and can be reached through a branch of the path of the valley floor.
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